Sa ra h Ka ne  plays

1995 Blasted

Blasted - click for link

Death. Not being/ you fall asleep then you wake up His mother´s a lesbos, am I not preferable to that/ perhaps she´s a nice person Give us a cig/ why?/ Cause I got a gun and you haven´t No God/ Got to be something/ Why?/ Doesn´t make sense otherwise/ Doesn´t make sense anyway

The play is set in the bedroom of a hotel room where Ian, an obnoxious newspaper hack, has taken Cate for the night. She is down-to-earth and unused to luxury. Then the soldier enters. The hotel is in a Bosnian Leeds and the events that follow reflect the pain and suffering that Bosnia endured. Kane uses the viewpoints of both oppressor and victim.

Sarah Kane - Jack Tinker review

Blasted shook London´s theatre world with critics unable to handle its violence and energy- "This disgusting feast of filth" ( Jack Tinker, Daily Mail, 19 Jan 1995). Compare the criticism of the play with criticism of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler "a bad escape of moral sewage-gas... the foulest passions of humanity" (quoted in the introduction, Ibsen Plays Two, Metheun).

"Blasted... chooses to blur the distinction between perpetrator and victim by giving the soldier an originary trauma" (Peter Buse, Drama+Theory, Critical Approaches to Modern British Drama, Manchester University Press, 2001).  Buse goes on to give an interpretation of the role of the soldier "...there are good reasons to assume that not everything that occurs on stage happens at the level of a single 'reality' but that at least some aspects of the civil war raging outside and the arrival of the soldier, are in fact phantasms of Ian's memory... Cate is never in the room at the same time as the soldier and is therefore no confirmation of his existence outside of Ian's imagination".

Blasted premiered at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London on 12 January 1995. Directed by James Macdonald with Pip Donaghy as Ian, Kate Ashfield as Cate and Dermot Kerrigan as the soldier.  A previous version, from 1993, covered the first half of the final version and had a student performance.  Kane says "acts of violence simply happen in life, they don't have a dramatic build-up and they are horrible.  That is how it is in the play".

Sarah Kane said "Blasted now exists independently of me- as it should do- and to attempt to sum up its genesis and meaning in a few paragraphs would  be futile and of only passing interest.  what you take that voice to  be saying is no concern of mine.  It is what it is.  Take it or leave it" (Sarah Kane, 1994, quoted in Frontline Intelligence 2: New Plays for the Nineties, edited by Pamela Edwardes, Metheun Drama, 1994).

"The humanity of Blasted moved me. I worry for those too busy or so lost that they cannot see its humanity. And as a playwright, I am moved by the craft and control of such a young writer. How important a writer she will be of course I don’t know. Even before reaching her age Rimbaud had revolutionised poetry and abandoned it to take up gun-running. But I do know this is the most important play on in London" (Edward Bond, A blast at our smug theatre: Edward Bond on Sarah Kane, The Guardian, 28 Jan 1995, reprinted 12 Jan 2015, click here).

James Macdonald, the producer, says "a short run meant Blasted was seen by not many more than 1,000 people, making it perhaps the least seen and most talked-about play in recent memory. Meanwhile, lying low in Brixton, Sarah received a surprise delivery at 3pm one afternoon. A fan letter from Harold Pinter. Had he popped down to deliver it himself, she wondered, or was it a lackey in shades and gloves".

Blasted - Ian

For more photos of Blasted and photo credits click here.

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